A Peugeot 208 GTI around 10,000 bends
There’s not been a good hot Peugeot for 15 years. Now there is. So we took it to the twistiest place we know...
Posted: 23 May 2013
The Tour de Corse was where Ari Vatanen gave the Group B Peugeot 205 T16 its debut. That car later won five consecutive World Championship events, including at Corsica. In fact, the 205, 206 and 207 have all won here. Did you spot what we just did? Did you see how we brought you onto the thorny subject of Peugeot's hot-hatch history?
Ah, the old 205 GTI. It wasn't just the rightness of its styling that makes it a classic. Hardly was a front-drive car ever more sensitive to steer. It was so deliciously light and sharp and transparent. The engine felt zingily alive, the steering sharp as glass, and when you combined them - applying or lifting throttle in a corner - the car would adjust its pivot with instant ferocity.
Marvellous if you were expecting it, potentially catastrophic if you weren't. And so the 205 GTI was just the sort of hatchback you can't sell any more. It was so addictive precisely because it had no power steering, no ESP, and a chokingly emissive engine. Most of all, it was a car that would never pass today's stringent crash tests, while being all too prone to spontaneously imposing them on itself.